'Clues,' 'Heists,' 'Christy Adair Story' among skedded projects

Unveiling an ambitious slate of unscripted series, docs and movies for 2004-05, Court TV president-chief operating officer Art Bell said the cabler will spend an unprecedented $200 million on original programming and development over the next two years.

Bell made the announcement during the cabler’s upfront presentation for advertisers on Monday.

“This will take Court TV into a new phase in its evolution,” Bell said. “We are building on our highly successful franchises — such as ‘Forensic Files’ and ‘Body of Evidence’ — by creating new series and specials that distill the elements of investigation such as profiling, tracking, lie-detection and science into fascinating new shows in the reality genre.”

New series include the following “House of Clues” and “Impossible Heists.” Former, premiering April 30, follows two amateur detectives as they attempt to profile people from examining only their homes. Court TV has ordered six half-hours. Latter, a show described as “Ocean’s Eleven” meets “Survivor,” has two teams try to pull off/re-create infamous heist scenarios over a period of 24 hours while trying to evade massive security. Channel has ordered five hourlong episodes for winter.

In the development pipeline, Court TV has hourlong pilot “The Chase,” which follows “fugitive” participants as they hunt down a $20,000 prize. One-hour series “Heir Hunters” takes a look at the business of finding unsuspecting heirs who are owed inheritances.

New specs to the channel include “The First Amendment Project,” a collaboration with Sundance Channel. Series of half-hour films will center on the First Amendment as interpreted by such indie filmmakers as Robert Balaban and Forest Whitaker. “Russell Simmons Presents ‘Hip Hop Justice’ ” explores the myth and reality of a place in which hip-hop and crime collide.

Original movies in development include “A Jury of Her Peers: The Christy Adair Story,” starring Jane Seymour; “Never Again?” and “Chicago DNA Project.”

Limited series “Al Roker Investigates” will return to the channel this summer.

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